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England women step into Ashes limelight with double-header summer

Five-day Test at Trent Bridge and major venues for white-ball leg for 2023 home campaign

Heather Knight will get the chance to lead England in an Ashes Test at Edgbaston next summer  •  Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Heather Knight will get the chance to lead England in an Ashes Test at Edgbaston next summer  •  Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

England Women will play a five-day Test match against Australia as part of an Ashes campaign in 2023 in which they will return to the country's major venues. It will be only the second scheduled women's Test of that length, after Australia hosted England at North Sydney Oval in 1992.
The Test will take place at Trent Bridge, beginning June 22, and will be the first match of a multi-format points-based series set out across a number of major venues. Three T20Is at Edgbaston, the Kia Oval and Lord's follow, before three ODIs in Bristol, the Ageas Bowl and Taunton. As has been the case for several campaigns now, the white-ball matches will be worth two points each, with four on offer for the winners of the Test.
It is a seminal moment in English women's cricket, stepping up off the back of the success of the women's Hundred and the Commonwealth Games this summer, both of which have shown that the audience and appetite for the game in this country is only going one way.
Later this week, England play their first bilateral ODI at Lord's since 2014, against India on Saturday, and that theme will continue in 2023 with Trent Bridge hosting their first international women's match since 2000.
Meanwhile Edgbaston, Lord's and the Kia Oval will all be hosting their first Women's Ashes T20Is. The England and Wales Cricket Board have taken a page out of the Hundred's book by allowing both men's and women's Ashes to run concurrently next summer.
Heather Knight, England's captain who scored a century in the drawn Ashes Test at Canberra in January, and whose team ran out of time to force victory over South Africa in a rain-affected four-day match this summer, told the PA news agency that this moment had been a long time coming.
"I'm so happy," she said. "I feel like I've been banging the drum for five days for a long time, so it's a special moment. It feels like the right time, for five days, for bigger grounds, and it feels like it's been a long time coming. Last year's South Africa Test was set up nicely but withered out because of rain and it wasn't given the chance to finish, so this is a really good step by the boards."
The women's series will begin a week after the men face Australia for the first of five matches at Edgbaston, beginning on June 16, before fixtures at Lord's, Headingley, Emirates Old Trafford and the Kia Oval.
Ben Stokes' side will begin their red-ball summer against Ireland at Lord's in a four-day match starting on June 16. The World Test Championship final is scheduled between those matches, and will be hosted at the Kia Oval in June. It was also confirmed that Lord's, who had originally been expecting to host the showpiece event, will get to do so in 2025.
As expected, the month of August has largely been saved for the Hundred, with the only international match coming on August 30 when England's men begin a exclusively white-ball diet of four T20is and four ODIs against New Zealand. Ireland then return for three one-dayers in September as Jos Buttler and Matthew Mott look to fine-tune their plans ahead of the 50-over World Cup in India in the winter of 2023. Meanwhile Heather Knight's team will play three T20is and three ODIs against Sri Lanka.
Clare Connor, the ECB's interim CEO, said: "We're absolutely delighted to be hosting two Ashes series in 2023, as well as hosting Ireland Men, New Zealand Men and Sri Lanka Women.
"Next summer will be huge for England Women and England Men. There are few events more special in English sport than a home Ashes series and I know that Heather, Ben, and their teams, will be excited and driven by the challenge of regaining the Ashes.
"I am particularly delighted that we have announced our England Men and England Women's fixtures side by side for the first time, meaning that supporters can enter the ballot or register interest for any fixture on the same day. June and July will be very special months for cricket in this country with the buzz of two Ashes series taking place simultaneously.
"The women's game continues to grow and we have clearly entered another phase in terms of the demand for elite women's sport. We've seen record numbers flock to stadia for the second season of the Hundred. Now we want to give more fans the chance to watch England Women in person next summer as they compete for the Ashes on home soil."

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo